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Manzi Happy To Be Back In Action

Published: October 8, 2008 6:31 pm ET

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After spending six weeks on the sidelines while recovering from a broken collarbone and fractured ribs, Cat Manzi's return to the winner's circle came with an appropriately named horse: Lets Go Baby Go.

That's because there's nothing Manzi enjoys more than being on the go.

Manzi, who ranks No. 2 in North American harness racing history with 13,053 career wins, was injured on August 17 when he was involved in an accident at Chester Downs. He has notched 14 victories since returning to action on September 30, also at Chester.

"I'm back working, which is a lot better than what I was doing a few weeks ago," the 58-year-old Freehold, New Jersey resident said. "I got lucky. (The collarbone) was miserable for about three weeks and then suddenly it started getting really good. I feel perfect. It doesn't bother me hardly at all.

"The ribs are okay, too. There were a few little fractures and they got better around the same time my collarbone did. It was nice to get it over with."

Over the years, Manzi has been one of racing's most active drivers, averaging more than 3,100 races per season since 1987 (he's made 2,010 starts this season). He won at least 600 races each of the past four years and, with his 309 triumphs so far this season, has topped 300 victories each of the last 21 years.

Going from active to inactive can be tough.

"I'm not good at hanging around," Manzi said with a laugh. "Working hard all my life, I didn't develop many other interests. When I'm not working, I'm pretty bored."

To ward off boredom, Manzi took walks, did work around the house and did crossword puzzles.

"I found things to do, but it wasn't what I wanted to be doing," Manzi said, adding, "I can do crossword puzzles and drive."

Manzi was touched by the outpouring of concern and affection from friends and fans following the accident.

"It was amazing all the phone calls and e-mails and text messages," he said. "People sent me gifts. It felt good to have people pay attention to you like that. It was really nice."

As for his schedule, Manzi plans to drive regularly at Chester and Freehold Raceway while also competing occasionally at Yonkers Raceway.

"Whatever work I have, I'm going to do the best I can with it," Manzi said. "That's the way I have to operate from here on in, I think. I don't expect a lot, so when something good happens, it's good. When I don't get the kind of work I'd like to get, I just have to accept it a little bit.

"It's okay. It's just a little different stage of my career, that's all. I'm just glad I can still do it. I think I'm still very good at it."

(Harness Racing Communications)


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